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Radical Supremes Deny Justice to Man Falsely Convicted by DA Misconduct

The Contemplation of Justice (photo: UpstateNYer)

If you want an example of how radically extreme and lacking in fundamental decency and justice the conservative Supreme Court majority is, read on.

The US Supreme Court just voted 5-4, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the opinion joined by Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Kennedy, to overturn a jury award to a man who was wrongly convicted, nearly executed, and served 14 years on death row because a Louisiana District Attorney and his colleagues knowingly withheld evidence proving the man’s innocence.

From the LA Times:

The 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas shielded the New Orleans District Attorney’s office from being held liable for the mistakes of its prosecutors. The evidence of their misconduct did not prove “deliberate indifference” on the part of then-District Attorney Harry Connick Sr., Thomas said.

So let’s see what the conservative Justices believe does not prove “deliberate indifference.”

— The DA and his office concealed blood tests at the scene which pointed to a suspect with Type “B” blood; the defendant had Type “O.”

— the DA’s office concealed other evidence they had the wrong man:

His new defense lawyers found other evidence that had been hidden, iincluding eye-witnesses reports from the murder scene. Bystanders reported seeing a black man who was six-feet tall with close-cropped hair running away holding a gun. Thompson was 5’8″ tall and had a bushy “Afro” at the time.

— The majority said there was no “pattern” of withholding evidence by the DA’s office; just an isolated incident. But . . .

But Thompson’s lawyers showed that at least four prosecutors knew of the blood test that was hidden. They also showed evidence of other similar cases in New Orleans where key evidence was concealed from defense lawyers.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent aloud, charging the Court was shielding flagrant misconduct that dishonored the courts.

CommunityMy FDL

Radical Supremes Deny Justice to Man Falsely Convicted by DA Misconduct

If you want an example of how radically extreme and lacking in fundamental decency and justice the conservative Supreme Court majority is, read on.

The US Supreme Court just voted 5-4, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing the opinion joined by Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Kennedy, to overturn a jury award to a man who was wrongly convicted, nearly executed, and served 14 years on death row because a Louisiana District Attorney and his colleagues knowingly withheld evidence proving the man’s innocence.

From the LA Times:

The 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas shielded the New Orleans District Attorney’s office from being held liable for the mistakes of its prosecutors. The evidence of their misconduct did not prove “deliberate indifference” on the part of then-District Attorney Harry Connick Sr., Thomas said.

So let’s see what the conservative Justices believe does not prove “deliberate indifference.”

— The DA and his office concealed blood tests at the scene which pointed to a suspect with Type “B” blood; the defendant had Type “O.”

— the DA’s office concealed other evidence they had the wrong man:

His new defense lawyers found other evidence that had been hidden, iincluding eye-witnesses reports from the murder scene. Bystanders reported seeing a black man who was six-feet tall with close-cropped hair running away holding a gun. Thompson was 5’8″ tall and had a bushy “Afro” at the time.

— The majority said there was no “pattern” of withholding evidence by the DA’s office; just an isolated incident. But . . .

But Thompson’s lawyers showed that at least four prosecutors knew of the blood test that was hidden. They also showed evidence of other similar cases in New Orleans where key evidence was concealed from defense lawyers.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent aloud, charging the Court was shielding flagrant misconduct that dishonored the courts.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley